On Monday, May 25, 2015 in the United States we honor those who died in battle since the Civil War. This blog will highlight the speech that President Abraham Lincoln made in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It will also highlight very briefly WWI and WWII of which my family members served.
Notes: "On the morning of November 19, Lincoln rose to the podium and addressed the crowd of some 15,000 people. He spoke for less than two minutes, and the entire speech was only 272 words long. Beginning by invoking the image of the founding fathers and the new nation, Lincoln eloquently expressed his conviction that the Civil War was the ultimate test of whether the Union created in 1776 would survive, or whether it would “perish from the earth.” The dead at Gettysburg had laid down their lives for this noble cause, he said, and it was up to the living to confront the “great task” before them: ensuring that “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
"The essential themes and even some of the language of the Gettysburg Address were not new; Lincoln himself, in his July 1861 message to Congress, had referred to the United States as “a democracy–a government of the people, by the same people.” The radical aspect of the speech, however, began with Lincoln’s assertion that the Declaration of Independence–and not the Constitution–was the true expression of the founding fathers’ intentions for their new nation. At that time, many white slave owners had declared themselves to be “true” Americans, pointing to the fact that the Constitution did not prohibit slavery; according to Lincoln, the nation formed in 1776 was “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In an interpretation that was radical at the time–but is now taken for granted–Lincoln’s historic address redefined the Civil War as a struggle not just for the Union, but also for the principle of human equality." Source
A New Declaration of Independence
“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure.
But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.
It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.” – Abraham Lincoln
* Battle of Argonne Forest * The battle in WWI that my Great Uncle
Thomas V. Flanigan fought and died in. He is buried in France
at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery
My father, Thomas V. O'Connor, named after his Uncle, Thomas V. who died in WWI, served in World War II on the USS Intrepid in the Pacific fleet as the lead airplane mechanic.
USS Intrepid (CV-11) in the Philippine Sea, November 1944
Crewmen aboard the USS New Jersey watch as a
Japanese plane prepares to strike Intrepid.
Burial at sea for the victims of a Japanese bombing attack on Intrepid
during operations in the Philippines, November 26, 1944.
Angel of the Resurrection & US Flag photo by Fran Schultz
There are some free downloads of my Memorial Album available
in the "More Albums" section. Scroll down for a free download
to the entire World War I Memorial Suite, consisting of three movements:
Echoes of the Past * WWI Memorial * Battle of Argonne Forest
Other pieces of music available for free download are indicated on that page.
May you have a Memorial Day with the blessings of Peace & Love.